March 29, 2022

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Welcome back to The University Insider. 

This week, students and the University reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit about the University’s handling of sexual misconduct, the regents held their last meeting of the academic year, School of Social Work students protested for internship payment and more.

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UMich and students reach settlement of lawsuit over handling of sexual misconduct

On March 24, the University of Michigan reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit and agreed to the creation of a Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT). This comprehensive group will work to add transparency to the University’s response to sexual violence on campus and ensure students’ safety.

The lawsuit, originally filed in May 2021 by LSA senior Josephine Graham, follows the $490 million agreement with survivors of the late doctor Robert Anderson. Graham said that the CCRT is the capstone of the settlement and spoke of her excitement about the process beginning.

“I’m really excited about the potential of this Coordinated Community Response Team, and it’s really a first step in establishing more accountability, transparency and, really importantly, community decision making,” Graham said at a press conference Wednesday. “When it comes to U of M’s history of sexual misconduct and the policies and procedures and all those programs that are being implemented, the CCRT (will further this innovation), which is the main focal point of the settlement.”

The University has faced multiple allegations of mishandling sexual misconduct on campus from survivors, including hundreds of allegations against Anderson. Other instances of sexual misconduct include allegations against Computer Science and Engineering professors Walter Lasecki and Jason Mars, as well as the upcoming criminal sexual misconduct trial for former CSE chair Peter Chen. Former Music, Theatre & Dance professors Stephen Shipps and David Daniels, former LSA lecturer Bruce Conforth and English professor Douglas Trevor have also been accused of misconduct. Former Provost Martin Philbert was fired in March 2020 following a series of sexual misconduct allegations. 

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Regents discuss presidential search, CCRB and Big House upgrades at last meeting of the academic year

The University of Michigan Board of Regents met in Ann Arbor Thursday to discuss progress in the search for a new University president, renovations to the Central Campus Recreation Building (CCRB) and upgrades to University athletic facilities.

Regent Denise Illitch (D) shared some of the major themes from the February Presidential Search Committee listening sessions.

“Number one, it is important that the next president rebuild trust and accountability within the University community, leading with integrity and readdressing past abuses and sexual misconduct,” Illitch said. “I was struck by all (the) sessions, the observations of being heard and of listening and of being appreciated.”

The board also discussed plans to renovate the CCRB. New features of the plan include a three-court gymnasium and a natatorium with a lap pool, a recreational pool and a post-workout recovery pool. Mike Widen, director of Recreational Sports, emphasized the value of renovating the CCRB given its contributions to student well-being.

The regents voted to approve a $41 million update to the Big House, including an $8 million upgrade to the production room — the space that controls the audiovisual experience for several U-M sports venues across campus — which serves field hockey, ice hockey, basketball, football, soccer, indoor track, baseball and softball.

Design by Kate Shen.

School of Social Work students walk out of classes, demand payment for internships

Graduate students at the University of Michigan School of Social Work walked out of their classes Monday morning and gathered on the Diag to rally for Payments for Placements (P4P), a student campaign demanding that the University begin compensating Master of Social Work (MSW) students for their internship work, amassing about 80 members of the campus community. 

Currently, the majority of MSW field work positions are unpaid even though the Council on Social Work Education requires that MSW students across the U.S. complete 900 hours of field work during their master’s program.

At the protest, several MSW students expressed their frustrations with the lack of compensation for their field work, which they claim has impacted their mental health and ability to afford housing.

From the Daily: Vote EnvisionBlue on March 30-31

The Michigan Daily Editorial Board voted to endorse Noah Zimmerman and Jackie Hillman of the EnvisionBlue party for 2022-2023 Central Student Government president and vice president in the election on March 30 and 31. The Board evaluated all candidates running for the president and vice president positions and determined that the EnvisionBlue Party most closely represented the “leaders and best” mentality and supported their commitment to following through with their platform.

Campus Blueprint now reflects the percentage of students, faculty and staff who have received a booster shot. 89% of students have reported receiving a booster shot, 1% of students are waiting to be verified and 6% have not reported a COVID-19 booster shot, despite being eligible for over 30 days. The dashboard also reports 94% of faculty and 86% of staff are verified as having received their COVID-19 booster shot. 

Last week, U-M students accounted for 22% of COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County as a result of cases also decreasing at the county level. Quarantine and isolation housing occupancy remains at 1.4%.

With March Madness finally upon us, The Daily is going head-to-head in a fundraising competition against college newspapers across the country — and we need your support! Donate here to promote independent, student-run journalism in the state of Michigan and beyond.

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